Saturday, January 23, 2010

How I Discovered Satisfaction in God

This post is basically the overview of what made me come alive and taste real satisfaction. The posts to come will expand on the outline here and show how it all played out. I was raised without any belief in God for nearly 19 years. Sometime I will share how God opened my eyes to see the truth about the spiritual life and convinced me that Christ is my Lord and my Savior. But in my first post here I emphasized that there was still something missing from the faith I was living. This post starts to lay out how I went from being a Christian who believed and prayed, but was disappointed and still caught up in desires for sin, to becoming a Christian who enjoys God and finds satisfaction in simply experiencing Him.

I can't give you a secret recipe that will automatically introduce you to satisfaction in God if you just take the steps in the right order, because finding satisfaction in God happens through developing a personal relationship with Him. It's not mechanical – it's a dynamic, living, spiritual experience of coming close to the Divine and learning to know and trust Him. You let Him quiet your mind and release your tension in prayer, you listen to Him, you tell Him what troubles you, you wait for Him to do things in your life and in your heart, and you learn by experience that He is faithful and gives you what you need. Truly knowing God and finding satisfaction in Him is not like following a map or trying to learn how to operate something. It is much more like falling in love and starting a new relationship.

Thankfully, a lot of people before us have developed this relationship and have left great advice on how they went about it. The relationship still depends uniquely on the interaction between the two people involved and how they relate to each other, but the experiences of others give us a good idea how to get started. Most importantly, a relationship with God is unique because He gives and invests far more than you do and He actually works spiritually inside you to change you. So it will differ somewhat for each person, but the things below were fundamental for me, and from reading widely through what other Christians over the centuries have experienced, I believe these things will be fundamental for most people in finding a steady satisfaction in God.

  • I began reading my Bible every day.
  • I was genuinely unhappy and dissatisfied with where I was spiritually and with
    the results of my own efforts to manage my life. I confessed that I had done a
    lousy job and that I was not keeping God's Word faithfully on my own. I wasn't
    succeeding in fighting the desire for sin, and I was sick of being trapped in a
    cycle of doing things I was ashamed of and then having remorse and guilt.
  • I learned to consciously focus on admitting I could not do what I needed to do
    myself and putting my trust entirely in God to do it instead. I was learning
    that prayer doesn't just include asking God for what we think we need, but also
    includes asking God to change us and do in us what He desires to do. I learned
    that you don't keep God's commands by trying harder; you keep them by asking Him
    earnestly to make you obedient and trusting Him that He will do it.
  • I truly desired to know God more and find satisfaction in Him – I was becoming
    convinced that we were meant to enjoy God Himself for who He is, not just for
    what we get from Him, and I wanted to learn how to do this.
  • As I read the Bible daily, I was learning to trust God's Word and His promises
    instead of having my attitude shaped by how I felt or what I saw in my own life.
    I was learning to put aside my own expectations of what was possible or what was
    going to happen and believe that all things are possible with God instead.
  • I began to trust God that I could really let go of the things I had been holding
    onto for comfort and pleasure, and that He would replace them with something
    better and more satisfying. I learned to practice turning to Him when I was
    tempted by sin, trusting that He would ultimately give me more satisfaction and
    pleasure than sin could – without any shame!
  • I made my relationship with God and my time with Him my highest priority.

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